This summer has been a wonderful lesson on gardening in the south. I thought I had collected a wealth of advice and knowledge from the local gardeners and farmers here, but somewhere along the way I apparently didn't do something right. I've all but given up on my vegetable garden. I was so excited when tomatoes and peppers and little yellow squash started to peek through the ground, that dreams of a stocked pantry seemed to be coming true. But today, the rows have grown weedy, the plants have shriveled up and the ground has become red clay rock again. It looks sad and deserted over there by the abandoned house in the corner, but I'm leaving it be until the fall when the days are cool enough to start over again.
I've been keeping a journal, notes really, of what I probably should have done in the first place....bring in good dirt, raise the beds and start planting much earlier. I do keep reminding myself that we really have only lived in this house since December and maybe I should have dreamed a little smaller at first. Goodness, we still have a long ways to go on the inside!
But there's a thing here, a beautiful wonderful thing that might be a southern thing or a small town thing, called sharing. My garden may be dried up, but the fig trees are full, the pear tree is full and the basil and rosemary are overflowing in their pots. So I trade figs for peaches and basil for lemons and if there's something else I need, there's always a kind neighbor to share. I tell people it's an exceptionally beautiful way to live. It really is.
And the rewards are so sweet, peach cobbler, banana fig bread, lemon pudding and fresh herbs on everything!
I just realized that it's August in a couple of days.... gosh, that's hard to believe.